Ken McCarty – McCarty Family Farms

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. On today’s show we take a special look at the 50-Year Water Vision Plan proposed by the Kansas Water Office. Last year Governor Brownback issued a call to action to his administration to develop a 50-Year Water Vision Plan for the future of water in Kansas. After the first draft was made, revisions were brought to the annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas. The McCarty Farm recovers a massive amount of water to their operation and was invited to talk about their efforts at the conference. (Ken) My name is Ken McCarty. I’m representing McCarty Family Farms based in Rexford, Kansas. We’ve been involved with the vision team for quite some time now, mainly due to the fact in our milk processing plant we reclaim roughly 50,000 gallons of fresh water daily. (Conrad) Ken encourages producers to have a passion for enacting change for sustainable economy to take action. (Ken) Well I think it’s vitally important to be involved in the conversation and the process because without being involved there’s no way to enact change. If you really are truly passionate about having a sustainable economic future for the state of Kansas for your business personally or for the communities in which you live, you need to stand up, have a voice, have an opinion, be willing to share that and ultimately take action. (Conrad) The McCarty Farm uses unique tactics to conserve water. (Ken) The steps that we’ve taken on our farms are multi faceted. The cornerstone of our entire conservation ultimately is the milk processing plant where we can reclaim 50,000 gallons of fresh water daily from the milk that we produce on our farms. But additional efforts such as waterless urinals or more efficient cow cooling systems, all dealing with water. But again tier four compliant loaders and tractors to try to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency down to just simply how we schedule our employees to try to create a higher degree of satisfaction in employee contentment. Anything and everything that we can do to try to improve the overall sustainability of our farms is always on the table and always being evaluated. (Conrad) There are several ways to conserve water on a producer’s operations and Ken encourages that producers keep an open option and look to different ways conservation could be handled. (Ken) Well, the biggest piece of advice that I could give anyone regarding this fear, is simply to keep an open mind. Conservation is or gains in efficiency or productivity can come in a multitude of ways. Some may be very expensive, large projects. Others may be inexpensive or free. But to always keep an open mind and be willing to listen to anyone and everyone that has an opinion on how to do these things I think is vitally important. (Conrad) There are many innovative ways to keep a competitive advantage with conservation tactics for farmers. (Ken) Well the importance of…why it’s important that it maintain itself as a voluntary action is one, I think that’s a fantastic way to truly separate the wheat from the chaff. It allows people to be innovative. It allows people to separate themselves from the business and what they view as in their mind a competitive advantage. Whether it be economically competitive or just sustainability competitive advantage. But to force feed that down people’s throats ultimately I think, destroys the true intrinsic value of efforts such as these.

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